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158                                    YEEDICT  ON INDIA
them to cough up a collection of sheer nonsense unparalleled in the
.annals of democratic institutions.
It is the almost invariable custom of writers who criticize Gandhi
to soften their remarks with all manner of qualifications ; they say
'we think his policy would not workóbut of course we realize
that this is because he is a saint'; or they say kwe differ from his
reading of the factsóbut we do not for a moment question his
high regard for Truth.' It is almost as though they were afraid of
the little man, as though he might suddenly swoop out of the ether
and strike them dead.
I do not choose to follow this example. I have no incense to
spare for Mr. Gandhi, except the small pinch which one grudgingly
tosses at the ugly feet of any other dictator, as a reluctant tribute
to his theatrical qualities. For the rest, apart from the fact that in
Britain's most dangerous hour he chose to stab us in the back in
a manner strongly resembling Mussolini's thrust at falling France,
he seems .to me a typical Hindu politician, of quite inordinate
vanity, narrow, ignorant, and supremely intolerant. As for his
much-vaunted regard for Truth.. .well, really, Mr. Gandhi should
look up that word in the dictionary and then,, if he is wise, he will
change the subject as rapidly as possible.
But I do not propose to change the subject. Since this book of
mine will inevitably be attacked by Gandhi's apologists, let us
refer, for a moment, to the manner in which Gandhi himself
attacked another book which was not to his liking, by name
Mother India. When Mother India was published, it shook the
world like a clap of thunder. The thunder rolled on an.d on, the
storm showed no sign of abating, and Gandhi had to do something
about it. So he wrote an attack on, the book, six and a half
columns long, and he called it 'The Drain Inspector's Report.* As
an example of the work of a man, who professes so high a regard
for * Truth9 it is, to say the least of it, surprising.1
In impassioned language he branded the work as a hotchpotch
of lies; it was 'doubly untruthful'.. .it was a 'crime committed
against me'...*! warn American and English readers against
believing this book.'
Ľ For a fuller account of this affair see After Mother India, by Harry H. Pield
{Jonathan Cape, London}.